Choosing the right garbage disposal really comes down to one primary factor; horsepower. The higher the horsepower, the harder the disposal works to grind up kitchen waste.
Horsepower in disposals starts at about 1/2 a horsepower and goes all the way up to 1 horsepower or better. The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the grind.
Disposals on the low end can generally handle the kitchen waste generated by one or two people while higher horsepower models can, of course, take on heavier duty jobs.
Like any home improvement project, measuring is key. For garbage disposals, the width of the drain opening in the sink where the disposal will go is the key number shoppers will need while looking through the various models available. Most disposals are designed to fill a 3-1/2″ opening.
Another key consideration – no matter the horsepower – is to be sure there is plenty of room under the sink for the disposal to fit. Like any other appliance, garbage disposals come in a variety of sizes so making sure there’s plenty of clearance under the sink is imperative; the larger the capacity, the bigger the unit.
Tips for Keeping a Garbage Disposal in Good Shape:
- Keep certain materials like banana and potato peels, bones, glass and trash out of the disposal.
- If directions call for using water, be sure it’s cold and not hot; using hot water melts fat that can later congeal and clog pipes.
- Clean the disposal regularly either with a commercial cleaner or with a combination of lemon juice and vinegar.
- Throwing ice cubes into the disposal while it’s running can help keep blades sharp.
- Always make sure the disposal is off before reaching inside.
Garbage disposals are available with a number of options, including air switches instead of a wall switch; special technology to reduce the amount of noise the disposal makes; and sensors that detect jams before they happen.